A Blessing For One Who Can’t Be SeenOctober 8th, 2013
A few months ago, my husband and I invited a newly ordained transitional deacon friend over for dinner. Shortly after walking through the door, our friend eagerly offered to bless anything – crucifixes, rosaries, etc. He came prepared with his new copy of the “Book of Blessings” and was excited to share his diaconate ordination in a unique way with our family.
He also mentioned off-handedly the newly approved blessing of the unborn child.
“Is that in the Book of Blessings?” I asked casually.
“No, it’s in a separate booklet since it’s so new,” he responded.
“Did you bring that one with you too?” I inquired. It was in the car, he said. “Could you bring it in?” I asked.
It took a few moments, but our friend eventually realized that my question was not simply a question, but also the sharing of news that my husband and I had learned only a few weeks before. Our first baby was on his or her way.
After dinner, we stood in the living room, while our Dominican friend blessed us and our unborn baby. It was a beautiful moment of prayer for our child, and my husband and me in our new role as parents.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, now of Louisville, Kentucky, approached the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee several years ago to inquire about a blessing of the unborn child. When he found that none existed, the committee prepared a text that was later sent to the Vatican for approval.
It was announced on the Feast of the Annunciation in 2012 and was available by Mother’s Day of the same year. The booklet containing the Rite of the Blessing of a Child in the Womb is available in English and Spanish, with the option of being given during or outside of Mass.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Mother Church was one of the first to hear the good news of a child waiting to be born? We often think of the Church as our Sacrament stop – the place we go when we desire Baptism, Confession, the Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage or the Anointing of the Sick. But the Church, like a mother, waits for us with so much more. There are blessings for nearly every significant moment of life. We simply have to ask to receive them.
If we share good news with our family about a new child, an engagement, a new home, then it seems only natural to share with the Church as well. All of these gifts can in turn be offered to God and blessed by the Church.
It is beautiful to know that our son or daughter, who at seven weeks along was only making his or her presence known through morning sickness, was recognized by the Church as someone to welcome, to intercede for and to bless. In the world’s eyes, there was nothing to see, but for Christ and the Church, this was – and is – a unique, unrepeatable person to love and to serve.